Jan Richardson, over at The Advent Door, writes about the first readings (Matthew 24) of Advent:
It can be tempting to recoil from the imagery...: Christ as burglar, coworkers and companions left bereft, the anxiety of not knowing when or how the Word who became flesh for us will come again. Yet the season of Advent challenges us to resist recoiling and instead to press into the insecurity and unsettledness of this passage—and of our lives. Advent beckons us beyond the certainties that may not serve us—those sureties we have relied on that may have no substance to them after all. Advent is a season to look at what we have fashioned our lives around—beliefs, habits, convictions, prejudices—and to see whether these leave any room for the Christ who is so fond of slipping into our lives in guises we may not readily recognize.
What an odd image. What an uncomfortable picture. Isn't advent supposed to be about hope? about joy and peace on earth? Yet the picture we get here, where advent begins, is one of pain, of freedom and salvation coming in disguise, more than that, in ways that we would not choose, that we may not recognize.
And what do we do with it? I know my tendency is to hide in business, in taking care of others. Because it's scary to see Christ as a thief...and yet that is what he calls himself in this reading. And that's what he feels like sometimes. Have you ever felt like the one left in the field or left grinding the meal? Alone and with all the work? Have you asked where is the Christ for that person? Where is freedom? Richardson says it's in the seeing, in being awake to uncertainties, to the unexpected. Perhaps it's in letting go of the expected.
Read the rest of her poignant, yet encouraging writing here.